Brewers bats fall silent as Red Sox salvage one game in series

MILWAUKEE | It was a much different game for the Brewers and Red Sox on Thursday afternoon at Miller Park. The first two games of this series featured an interleague slugfest but in the series finale runs were tough to come by as the Red Sox salvaged one game in the series and beat the Brewers 4-1.

The only run scored off Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson came on an error. Jesus Aguilar’s blunder in the first inning allowed Mookie Betts to score. Nelson was spectacular giving up no earned runs over 6 2/3 innings and just 4 hits while striking out 8.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez gave up just one run on an RBI double by Jonathan Villar in the 6th inning.

The Red Sox had a golden opportunity to score in the top of the 8th with the bases loaded and one down. But Brewers reliever Corey Knebel got back to back strikeouts to end the threat and keep the game tied at 1.

But Boston came through with the big hit in the 9th. With the game still tied at 1, Mookie Betts hit a three-run homer off Brewers reliever Neftali Feliz. That was the difference as the Brewers went quietly in the 9th.

Overall it was another solid series for Milwaukee (18-17) who took two of three from Boston. The Brewers start a three-game series with the New York Mets at Miller Park on Friday night.

Anderson shuts down Toronto in a 2-0 win for the Brewers

Milwaukee (4-5) got seven scoreless innings from Chase Anderson, and Jonathan Villar hit his third home run of the year, as the Brewers beat Toronto (1-7) 2-0 Wednesday night.

Anderson was fantastic in his second-longest outing in his Milwaukee career, mixing and matching his fastball and change up to fluster a Blue Jays lineup that has given pitchers fits in recent years. He gave up just three hits and struck out seven batters on his way to his first win of the year.

“This is the best I’ve seen him,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He just had really good stuff.”

Anderson handed the game over to relievers Corey Knebel and Neftali Feliz, with the latter picking up his third save of the season.

The Brewers didn’t give Anderson much help offensively, but they did just enough. Outfielder Keon Broxton doubled home a run in the second inning, while Villar’s 429-foot homer in the sixth inning provided some breathing room to help Milwaukee get their first back-to-back wins of the year.

Counsell’s club will now head to Cincinnati for a four-game series starting Thursday night.

Peralta earns his second win in the Brewers 4-3 victory over Toronto

The Milwaukee Brewers ruined Opening Day in Toronto last night, coming out 4-3 winners against the Blue Jays.

The Crew got another very good outing from Wily Peralta, who picked up his second win of the season by going six innings, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out seven. The veteran also walked four.

His outing was backed by a trio of relievers – Jacob Barnes, Corey Knebel and Neftali Feliz – who didn’t allow a hit in the final three innings. Feliz earned his second save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Milwaukee was paced offensively by Domingo Santana, who had a pair of RBI’s, including a home run in the fifth inning that proved to be all the scoring the Brewers would need.

Outfielder Keon Boxton went 2 for 5 and hit the first home run of his season, while catcher Manny Pina continued his hot start with three hits in four plate appearances to push his batting average to .429 through eight games.

All of the damage Milwaukee did came against starter J.A. Happ, who fell to 0-2 on the year. He gave up the four runs on nine hits, while also striking out eight batters.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Milwaukee, while the Blue Jays fell to 1-5 on the year, the worst start in franchise history.

The second and final game of the quick interleague series is tonight at the Rogers Centre. First pitch is set for 6:07 p.m.

Counsell not yet ready to call Feliz “closer”

PHOENIX — Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell addressed reporters Monday at Maryvale Baseball Park, but wasn’t yet ready to hand over the keys to the “closer” position for newcomer Neftali Feliz.

“Neftali is going to get really important outs for us,” Counsell said. “That’s what we signed him to do.”

Perhaps that’s Counsell’s politically-correct approach to allowing competition this spring, but so far, no other candidates have stuck out as legitimate replacements for Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith.

Feliz was signed to a one-year, $5.35 million guaranteed contract on Jan. 19 after failing to reach a multi-year extension with the Pittsburgh Pirates in November. The 28-year-old 2010 AL Rookie of the Year posted a 3.52 ERA and 1.137 WHIP with the Pirates last season.

“He’s got a track record, Counsell said. “What we saw last year was him getting back to the player that broke into the big leagues and was really a dynamic arm and reliever, and capable of great things.”

Feliz is no stranger to pitching in late innings, but after the Texas Rangers tried to convert him to a starter in the 2012 season, he injured his throwing arm and underwent Tommy John surgery which kept him out for the entire 2013 season.

It’s possible Counsell doesn’t want to bank on Feliz’ resurgence in 2016 as means that he’ll be able to last an entire season in Milwaukee as the closer. But with no other real options at this point in spring training, it would appear it’s just a matter of time before Counsell makes the label official.

Brewers sign free agent reliever Neftalί Feliz

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent right-handed reliever Neftali Feliz to a one-year contract.

“We are excited to add a pitcher with Neftalί’s stuff to the back end of our bullpen,” said Brewers General Manager David Stearns. “Neftalί has a long pedigree of getting high leverage outs, and we believe he has the capability to help anchor our young relief corps.”

Feliz, 28, owns a career record of 19-14 with a 3.22 ERA and 99 saves in 308 games (7 starts) during his Major League career with Texas (2009-15), Detroit (2015) and Pittsburgh (2016). He went 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA and 2 saves in 62 relief appearances for the Pirates last season.

The 2010 American League Rookie of the Year produced 40 saves that season, which ranks second all-time among rookies behind only Craig Kimbrel (46 for Atlanta in 2011). He followed that campaign with a 32-save season in 2011. Feliz was the closer for the Rangers during their consecutive American League championship seasons of 2010 and 2011. His 88.9 save percentage during those seasons (72-for-81) ranked sixth in the Major Leagues.

Feliz has held opponents to a .202 batting average during his Major League career with 326 strikeouts in 343.1 innings pitched.

Courtesy: Milwaukee Brewers